Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bobbi, Father of the Finnish White-Tailed Deer

I read this book about 30 years ago. I was just a kid. It came to mind a few weeks back, so I located a copy for sale on the website of an on-line book seller. It came through the mail slot last week.

(as always, click on images to enlarge)

The white-tailed deer was introduced to Finland in 1934-a gift from the Minnesota Finns Deer Committee (Minnesotan Suomalaisten Peurakomitea). Seven deer-three bucks and four does-made up the first shipment. Two of the bucks died during the journey. Bobbi, a young buck raised by Matt Niemi in northern Minnesota (about 15 miles north of Virginia,MN survived, and went on to reproduce in the forests near Laukko Manor. In 1948 six additional male fawns were sent over to assist in the diversification of the gene pool of the Finnish white-tailed deer population.

This book (ISBN: 0-9603200-0-8), written by Matt Niemi and Mary Sharp tells the story of Bobbi-an orphan raised by Matt on his parent's pioneer homestead in northern Minnesota during the early 1930's. An added bonus is the fact that Otto Walta was Matt's nearest neighbor. For those who don't know, Otto Walta was a Finnish immigrant with Paul Bunyan-like tales about him. Unlike Paul Bunyan, Otto Walta was a real person.

A publication funded by the Minnesota Finns Deer Committee and published in 1950.

An article from the Mesabi Daily News, Tues. 12-4-79. Click on scans to enlarge.

Otto Walta (at left) with his brothers.
To read an article about Otto Walta written by Michael Karni for Minnesota History check out phonygal's site.


  1. So what became of the immigrant deer?

  2. Their descendants now number aproximately 30,000 and can be found all over Finland.

  3. Great story! Thanks for sharing the background to how these deer came to be in Finland.